Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services
Evidence for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Effectiveness of Insurance: Challenges and Opportunities
|Date||4-5 July 2014|
|Venue||Hotel Puri Pujangga, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, Malaysia|
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most vulnerable regions to a range of primary hydro-meteorological and geological natural hazards such as earthquakes, storms, floods, tsunamis, landslides and droughts. The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) suggests that specifically the number of hydro-meteorological disasters over the 2000-09 period was 10 times more than the number of disasters reported during 1947-56. In the Asia-Pacific region, hydro-meteorological disasters have claimed the lives of 0.22 million people with an estimated total economic damage costs of USD285 million between 2001 and 2012. An increase in the number of catastrophic disasters and related insured and uninsured losses has been reported, undermining the developmental gains across the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
The region's high vulnerability to natural hazards, compared to other regions in the world, is primarily caused by a range of geophysical, socioeconomic and developmental conditions which include a long coastline, a highly variable monsoon system, high volcanic and tectonic activity, high poverty both within and outside of urban areas, high population densities associated with massive immigration to cities, partly poorly planned urban development, partly absence of proper disaster risk mitigation mechanisms and institutional/regulatory frameworks including prevalence and enforcement of structural standards such as building- and land-use planning regulations, as well as the poor development of risk spreading instruments such as insurance.
Both life and non-life forms of insurance play an important role in disaster risk reduction. However, life insurances are more dominant than non-life insurances in terms of the volume of insurance premiums, more so in the organised sector. From the viewpoint of climate change, among all the forms of insurance, insurance that covers the loss of livelihoods (e.g. agriculture insurance) is of utmost importance but it still only has a limited spread in the region. Though there are several policy and institutional initiatives to promote insurance in the Asia-Pacific region, the region has not been able to utilise the full potential of insurance. The issues are poor internalisation of insurance benefits, high insurance costs, poor access and availability of weather data, poor structural risk mitigation, lack of enabling policies, imperfect information and technical complexity. The most significant realisation stems from the fact that there is a lack of clear assessment and recognition of insurance benefits and costs in terms of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development. There is also a lack of clear discussion on possible alternative mechanisms that can provide similar benefits to insurance but that can be implemented much more easily considering the constraints limiting the spread of insurance to the most vulnerable.
Keeping this in mind, this workshop aims to assess the benefits and costs accrued through insurance, evaluate barriers limiting insurance penetration, identify interventions for greater insurance penetration leading to realisation of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and identify alternative approaches to insurance to target those who cannot be reached through insurance.
- To what extent are the current insurance approaches able to reduce the risks that they are designed to address?
- What are the lifecycle costs and benefits accrued through insurance to various stakeholders engaged in insurance?
- What methodologies are suitable for assessing the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation benefits and costs of insurance?
- How have different stakeholders ensured that the insurance delivers the intended benefits while keeping the costs to a minimum? While doing so, how have they designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated the insurance products?
- Considering the costs in implementing affordable insurance to the most vulnerable, what alternative approaches can be identified that can deliver similar benefits to insurance without incurring the same level of costs or being hampered with the same level of limitations?
- What national level policy provisions are necessary to create an enabling environment for greater penetration of insurance?
- What are the perceptions of different stakeholders on the current policy environment for promoting insurance in the Asia Pacific region?
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